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A new TV show about entrepreneurship will be coming to Malaysians’ screens soon. Called The Sandbox, the show is produced by Astro and MyStartr, the Chinese-centric Malaysian equity crowdfunding platform.

To be aired on the Astro AEC Channel in Q1 of 2023, The Sandbox (known as 投吧!合伙人) is a Mandarin-speaking television series that will provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to be coached by business mentors and present their ideas to a panel of investors.

Other than networking, the televised nature of the programme will also offer its participants media exposure.

“Since our Dream Factory Startup Contest (DFSC), we have been exploring using the same method of DFSC as a TV show,” said Goh Goon Peng, the founder and CEO of MyStartr.

He also told Vulcan Post that the TV show was inspired by the pitching element of Shark Tank and the auditioning portion of The Voice.

It all comes down to a match

Entrepreneurs can apply for the programme online by filling out a form and submitting a minute-long video introducing themselves and their projects. According to the brief, the video should contain details of the company, its expansion goals, motivations, and execution plan.  

The applications, which are open to Malaysians and permanent residents above the age of 18, close on November 3, 11:59PM.

According to the application website, participants will go through two rounds of auditions—an online audition (done through the pitch video) and an offline audition.

Image Credit: MyStartr

After the online auditions, the shortlisted contestants will join the offline auditions. Here top 50 entrepreneurs will be selected for the “PK” match, with “PK” being a Chinese slang originating from the phrase “player killing”.

In TV shows, it refers to a stage where contestants are playing against each other.

Star-studded panel

Hosted by celebrity television host and producer Xiao Ma, local entrepreneurs including Bryan Loo, founder and CEO of Tealive, Hoe Kian Choon, CEO of Cuckoo International, Cheng Ping Keat, CEO of Khind Holdings, and Goh Boon Peng, founder and CEO of MyStartr, will be mentors in the programme.

Image Credit: MyStartr

“The businesses of our three mentors are well-established in the market,” Goh said. “Among them, one is listed in public and another is preparing to go public. They can definitely bring good advice and guidance to the contestants.”

The Sandbox participants will get to learn the ropes with these individuals and are expected to be exposed to industry know-how such as business model canvassing, equity allocation, company valuation, and pitching skills.

According to Boon Peng, other than these three mentors, there will also be five “investors” acting as judges to select the top three. Then, 100 online “investors” will choose the final champion.

Making startup culture entertaining

As an equity crowdfunding site, MyStartr allows startups to obtain capital through small equity investments on their online portal.

Successful projects on its site include F&B brands, logistics providers, and more. Notable names that have crowdfunded through the site include Eclimo Solutions, Care Latex, and BMS Organics.

The question is whether these are the kinds of businesses viewers should expect to see on The Sandbox.

Or, would The Sandbox be looking for more visually exciting products that are more fit for television, such as on Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, two popular shows where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors?

If that is the case, this would exclude software or service-based startups that don’t have a tangible product to showcase.

Attention spans are precious nowadays, so another question lies in how the production team plans to create an entertaining show out of what is essentially a startup accelerator. While it may sound thrilling, the process is likely not as glamorous as many may think.

With that said, other reality shows about startups and entrepreneurship have aired in Malaysia before. This includes Popiah Pictures and ntv7’s The Firm and MyEG’s Make The Pitch. Both only lasted for two seasons.

In fact, The Sandbox isn’t even the first crowdfunding show in Malaysia.

Earlier this year in February, another Malaysian programme called CROWDFACTOR X premiered via YouTube.

According to Business Today, participants of the show included startups such as Potboy Groceries, GrasiCili, Vanilla Crepe, Duogo, and more.

However, all episodes of the show are now private on YouTube.

Slated to be eight episodes long, perhaps The Sandbox will be different, thanks to its partnership with Astro as well as its illustrious cast of mentors.

In any case, The Sandbox is certainly an opportunity for local talents to showcase their ideas and business-mindedness in front of not just mentors and investors, but the viewers at home too.

  • Learn more about MyStartr’s The Sandbox here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: MyStartr

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)